Trend has been accelerating, U.S. figures show
THURSDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Black children with diabetes face a death rate twice as high as that for white children, new U.S. government research shows.
While this racial disparity has been evident for more than two decades, the trend has been accelerating among children ages 1 to 19, according to the study in the Nov. 16 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Although the numbers are small, in absolute terms, these deaths are still preventable, which is why it is important to examine those disparities and work toward eliminating them," said CDC epidemiologist Dr. Laura L. Polakowski, who co-authored the report.
Looking at death certificates from 1979 to 2004, the researchers found that between 2003 and 2004, there were 89 deaths among U.S. children and teens from diabetes. During that time, the annual diabetes death rate for black children and teens was more than double that for white children.
From 2003 to 2004, the diabetes death rate per million for children and teens was 2.46 for blacks and 0.91 for whites, the report found.
In addition, the death rate among blacks has been increasing since 1998, while for whites it decreased significantly from 1979 to 1994, and then leveled off from 1994 to 2004, Polakowski's team found.
A complex interplay of factors seems to be driving the disparity, Polakowski said. "Possible explanations could be differences in access to or use of health-care services, or differences in quality of diseases education and care," she said.
Polakowski's group did not distinguish between juvenile diabetes, commonly called type 1 diabetes, and adult onset diabetes, often called type 2 diabetes. However, most diabetes deaths among children are caused by short-term complications from type 1 diabetes, Polakowski s
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